Are your kids with #Autism very “literal” minded?

I spoke with the school this morning concerning Elliott eating lunch all alone. 

Elliott was upset because he thought he had to eat lunch alone and did so for the last 2 days. 

He was under the impression that because he packed his lunch this week, that he wasn’t allowed to eat with his friends that ate the cafeteria food. 

This was a sad misunderstanding.


Turns out that earlier this week, the teacher on duty in the cafeteria asked Elliott to scoot all the way down, as he was the first in line and they wanted to begin filling up the tables. 

Elliott, being very literal minded, moved all the way to the back of the cafeteria, where he sat all alone for two days. 

He was heartbroken because he thought he had done something wrong and was being punished. 

I explained to the school this morning about what Elliott thought and they were horrified.

They made sure to explain to Elliott that he misunderstood what they had asked him to do.  They had wanted him to scoot down because his class was supposed to sit together and he was at the wrong table.  They didn’t mean for him to sit all the way in the back. 

Needless to say, the situation has been addressed and Elliott he has rejoined his little friends. 

His heart has mended and he feels much better now. 

It’s amazing how literal my kids can be.  I’m grateful that this can be put behind us now.  🙂

Are your kids very literal? Can you share an example of this?

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Rob Gorski

Full time, work from home single Dad to my 3 amazing boys. Oh...and creator fo this blog. :-)
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Lost_and_Tired So many funny things 4 my son. Earliest: when he was almost 2 and saw Santa Clause, he said,”But where are his claws?”. 🙂

Alicia Cross

yes and for the most part I find it funny

Sarah Bolier

He definitely does, we both are practicing think before you speak lol 🙂

Jennifer Reed Memolo

Oh, yeah!

Clementine Kruczynski

Not frustrating so much as I have to reword things sometimes because he has a hard time understanding that whatever punishment will only happen IF he does whatever again

Jennifer Judson

Yes it’s frustrating! But my oldest is 20 with autism and bi-polar and I learned to rethink what I say if I can. I also have an 8 yr old that has no fear of risk so it’s definitely important for me to think before I speak. I read outloud the Amelia Bedelia books to them and still to my oldest to show what literal looks like. They think she is silly but still doesn’t see themselves like that. lol

Lost and Tired

Do you ever find that frustrating or is it just one of those things?

Jennifer Judson

YES! Both of mine are and they have a different variation to literal. One has no fear and will do what is said without thinking. The other will look puzzled before they attempt something which gives us the clue that we need more explanation. Oh and the really isn’t elbow grease in the cleaning cabinet!

Clementine Kruczynski

Oh God yes…. everything is literal

Anna Draper Vermillion

I told my son that he had to wear his seatbelt because he might fly through the window if we were to get in a car accident… he said “but I don’t have a cape”! (Superman style)


fbdala Lost_and_Tired I know mine are!!!


My daughter Anne worked at Shadow Lake summer camp and was the counselor for Douglas, a 17-year old who is non-verbal and has severe autism. She showed me some videos of Doug having fun at camp. I asked why he was wearing a life jacket in the splash pad. He thought that this was a rule, and although he didn’t really like the life jacket, he wore it anyway. This came about because on the first day Doug went down to the dock (attracted by the boats) and the waterfront staff insist on life jackets for everyone on the dock. After going to the dock he went to the splash pad – still wearing the life jacket. It was a cool day, so Anne didn’t suggest taking the life jacket off, since it was keeping him warm. So he thought that in order to go to the splash pad, he had to first go to the dock and get a life jacket (in fact life jackets were not required in the splash pad). Another example of how well kids with autism attend to anything in their environment that is predictable and follows a pattern. Which along with taking things literally leads to misconceptions at times!
There is a video of Doug having fun in the splash pad with his life jacket on, and some texts from camp from Anne at Douglas was able to go to sleep away summer camp with strangers for a week because of the fantastic job his mother Martha did in teaching him nice behaviors, how to swim and how to enjoy activities, and also that she was able to easily transfer her way of teaching to camp staff so that the transition was easy for Doug (and the camp staff).


So sad.  This could happen to any shy child, really.  And you are so lucky that he could talk to you about it.  I bet there are children out there who would sit with their broken hearts in the back of the cafeteria for as long as it took for someone to notice.  And he’s lucky that you cared enough to notice, inquire, and follow up with the school.


I am on the spectrum, 
I am sometimes literal and I can understand some fuzzy logic but not much and I have a friend that is alittle lower from my level on the spectrum and she is very literal for example she told me that before when her mom told her to put the laundry into the washing machine but never turned it on because in the directions there was nothing said to run the machine.


Lost_and_Tired very! literal! and unbending.